If you knew me 10 years ago, you would never believe that I would be sitting here today writing this article about health, fitness, and nutrition. I was soft, lazy, out of shape, and convinced I could never change. I was a mom of four who had believed all of the negative things so many of us say to ourselves.
“I’m not motivated.”
“I don’t have enough time.”
“I’ve never been in shape.”
“I can’t change.”
And the one so many of us say, but few will admit: “I’m not worth it.”
I grew up a soft kid. Not fat, but not fit either. I was skinny-fat. I was never more than a size 10 growing up, but everything was soft and weak. I hated exercise. Dreaded it. I didn’t know it at the time but it was because I had undiagnosed asthma. Any time I would exert myself it felt like my head would explode. I remember watching the “chubby” kids lap me during the mile run in PE thinking, “Wow, something must be REALLY wrong with me.” My solution was to NOT exert myself. Ever!
And to make myself feel better, I would go home and eat loads of junk food, watch TV and often sleep off the carb coma for 2-3 hours. That was my life. I look back and am surprised that I wasn’t heavier than I was despite my valiant efforts to sabotage myself.
After I started having kids, my body started to give up ground and I did become the fat-fat version of me. I would gain 40 pounds with each pregnancy and only lose 30 afterward.
The turning point for me was seeing myself in a picture of myself after my fourth child. I was sitting in a lawn chair on a beach. My face had become so occluded by my cheeks and neck that it was hard to see the me I once knew. I was 31, and completely lost inside myself.
That was my D-Day. I drew a line in the sand on that beach and I lost 30 lbs over the next four months through pure determination and grit. I changed my eating habits, cut out junk food, all caloric drinks, and anything fried. I started exercising.
About a year before, I had been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma because I had been so convinced I had a heart problem that I went in for a battery of tests. It just turned out to be asthma. Asthma! An inhaler made it suddenly possible to finally address how weak and out of shape a life of inactivity had awarded me.
I had to start small, and every day avoid the powerful urge to quit. I would walk 2 minutes, run for 20 seconds. Then walk 1 minute, run 30 seconds. Then walk 2 minutes, run 1 minute. Run 2 minutes, walk 20 seconds…and so on, until one day I ran a half marathon without stopping once. I also started lifting weights and changed my body composition. I wasn’t skinny-fat anymore. I was becoming fit! I even had another child, had the best fit pregnancy one could ask for, and dropped the weight effortlessly afterward.
As time passed, I realized I not only enjoyed being fit myself, but people started asking me how I had made such an astounding change. They used words like “astounding” and “inspiring transformation,” and while I was shocked they were talking about me, the reality of what I had done began to sink in and I started to feel a call to help others like me. I was that soft, lazy kid. I was the kid no one picked for the kickball or soccer team. I was the one who sat at home on Saturdays, eating snacks and watching TV all day, not out living life and being active. I was that way…until I wasn’t. Until I chose to be different. I realized something through my transformation. A lot of people simply decide they can’t change because they never have. But where is that written? I am 39 and feel amazing and strong and better than I did when I was 18. And I was NEVER athletic! I was the poster child for laziness, but NOT anymore! I was now the poster child for ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
And it hit me. I needed to help women and men who struggled like I did. I needed to help people wake UP! Feel better, and not live life to be fit, but be FIT so that they could live their lives. I was inspired to become a group fitness instructor and personal trainer and started helping people attack fitness through exercise.
After a few years of this, though, I realized something was missing. I watched people sweat buckets working out year after a year, and yet, their bodies weren’t changing. There was something else: the diet. People had a hard time eating for optimal health and fitness. And the reality is, abs are made in the kitchen. They’d work out until they wanted to drop and that would send them into an eating frenzy for the rest of the day, hunger they couldn’t get on top of. Or, they would go gung-ho into a high intensity eating program where they were required to plan, prep complex foods, and calorie count all day long and they’d burn out. I realized that most people couldn’t do what I had done in a zero-to-sixty fashion, and that most people needed to take baby steps. I had to adjust my approach—I needed to provide people with a nutritional bridge to a better place.
I began looking for a program that would help people address their eating habits in small, manageable steps that would help them feel empowered and help them not quit. A program that would also incorporate exercise, but gradually, in a way that would help them feel successful and make them look forward to the next day and the next step, instead of dreading it.
Above all, I knew that I had to find the right program, because the people I worked with trusted me. I couldn’t steer them wrong.
I did indeed find a program that I not only back 100% but also a program that helped me shave an additional 14 lbs, become leaner than I ever imagined possible, have energy coming out my ears, and save time—and I have been able to maintain that status effortlessly. I have since coached over 100 clients to their optimal weight through a nutrition plan that is easy to implement, easy to promote personal accountability, and of course I prescribe exercise that is fun and easy to do. I also include coaching and education to facilitate a permanent lifestyle change. I’ve helped people lose over 1,000 lbs collectively and keep it off through changing their nutrition, lifestyle, and habits.
Whether I’m helping someone lose 10 pounds or 100, it’s my calling in life. It’s what I was meant to do. I help people find themselves inside and literally unbury themselves.
My goal is to help as many people as I can free themselves from the prison of an unhealthy body and live life. I am a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, as well as a certified nutritional health coach, and regional director with Take Shape for Life/Optavia.